To the point: a riveting movie whose screenplay, casting and acting will keep you at the edge of your seat at all times.
The success of Vetrimaaran’s previous movie Pollaadhavan rested on three elements — an excellent screenplay, a great cast and Dhanush. It seems like three years down the line, Vetrimaaran and Dhanush have decided to raise the bar but with the same ingredients only better, and the result is Aadukalam — a movie that is not just technically superior, but is so convincing that you feel at times that you are in the midst of the action.
The director deserves the lion’s share of the plaudits; one can just wonder at how much homework must have gone into the movie so it evokes such a reaction in the audience. The movie’s screenplay is so taut that even at 160+ minutes, one can hardly point out a scene or a song that could have been edited out. (By the way, the songs are amazing. “Otha sollaala” is my new favorite.)
The production team has pulled off a casting coup. There are so many new faces that seem cut out for their roles that one wonders how the production team assembled them together. Every one of the characters seems to be from real life – Pettaikaarar (Jayabalan delivers a standout performance), Durai (Kishore), Rathinasamy, Pettaikaarar’s wife, even the guy who plays Dhanush’s friend. Taapsee, who plays Irene, reminds me of Kushboo; indeed her role in the movie is such that her dubbing artiste would just have to listen to Kushboo speaking Tamil as preparation for her task.
Finally, Dhanush; he has poured his heart into the role of Karuppu. He carries the movie through and through. It is impossible for me to visualize another actor who would fit the role.
Bottomline: Dhanush tells his rooster in the middle of a pivotal fight: “டேய் தம்பி… நான் போயிருவேன்; நீயும் போயிருவ; ஆனா அடுத்து வரப்போற பதினஞ்சு நிமிஷம் இன்னும் அம்பது வருஷத்துக்கு அப்புடியே இருக்கும்டா!” That captures my reaction to this truly well-made movie, one that will leave its mark on Tamil cinema. Worth watching many times over.
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